Canadians’ wellbeing suffers despite economic growth, says new national CIW report

Trends in the Canadian Index of Wellbeing and GDP (per capita) from 1994 to 2014

According to a new national report on wellbeing released in November 2016 by the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW), there is a massive gap between how well the economy is doing and Canadians’ wellbeing—a gap that has further widened since the 2008 recession.

Examining eight domains of wellbeing over a 21-year period, the report shows that in 2008, the gap between the GDP and the CIW was 21%. By 2014, it grew to 28.1%. The report provides further revealing findings about how Canadians are faring:
  • Living Standards plummeted 11% post-recession. And income inequality is up by almost 10%. More Canadians are struggling with the cost of and access to quality food and to housing. And work is more precarious with more Canadians working less than 30 hours/week, not by choice.
  • Canadians have also sacrificed their culture and leisure time with household spending on recreation, culture, and sport hitting a 21-year low.

To help close the growing gap, the report offers policy reocmmendations which include adopting an upstream health promotion approach — that prevents illness and disease before they take hold — and expanded access to the Community Health Centre model.

The report notes that health promotion and community development services provided by Community Health Centres and other agencies “proactively help persons in need to overcome barriers to greater wellbeing attributable to social and economic factors like income levels, access to shelter/housing, education, language, and geographic location.” But, as the CIW report points out, too few Canadians have access to them.

You can read the full report and key messages for more information.
To encourage governments to put wellbeing at the centre of decision making and policy development, share the findings and recommendations with your elected officials. And join the conversation on Twitter. Follow @ciwnetwork and use the hashtags #CdnWellbeing or #AdoptCIW